McDonald’s has a special way of resonating with its young employees called ‘crew speak’ and have even created an adaptive learning app named ‘Macca Thrive’ to further engage with staff in a fun and interactive way.

These are just a few of the youth-focused activities which have helped the quick service restaurant claim the title of ‘Auckland Employer of the Year’ at last night’s Young at Heart Awards.

Around 200 business leaders, employers and local government representatives attended the awards at the Hilton Auckland including the Minister of Youth, the Hon Peeni Henare, and Auckland’s Mayor Phil Goff.

As well as winning the top accolade, McDonald’s also scooped the School Engagement and Work Experience Award.

McDonald’s Restaurants Managing Director, Dave Howse, says young people have been at the heart of its business for the 41 years that it has been operating in New Zealand.

“Our people initiatives and processes have grown organically as a response to our youth demographic. With 70 per cent of our employees aged 24 and under, we work to be particularly relatable to youth and take into account their needs and aspirations,” he says.

Minister for Youth, Hon Peeni Henare, who presented the Youth Induction and Development Award to Fletcher Building, congratulated award winners and applauded the fantastic contribution employers are making to recruiting and on-boarding young people.

“Employers have an important role to play in developing new and innovative approaches to help address youth employment, skills shortages and to grow young talent in the work place,” he says.

“Young people are our future workforce, and bring a fresh new perspective to business. With the right support and training, our tech savvy young people have much to offer employers across all sectors,” Minister Henare says.

The Young at Heart Awards has been running for three years. Originally open to businesses that have signed up to Youth Employer Pledges, this year marks the first time that the awards have been opened up to the wider Auckland business community. 

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff commended the leadership that employers are showing through their commitment to employing young people.

“Sixty-nine leading Auckland businesses across a range of industries have signed the Youth Employer Pledge and are actively supporting young people into work,” he says.

“Auckland is expected to add over 67,000 jobs between 2017 and 2020, and over the next decade, 20% of the region’s workforce will be new entrants. That means that there will be increasing competition to attract young workers,” says Mayor Goff.

Young at Heart Award winners

Business                                                                               Award Category

  •          McDonald’s Restaurants Limited                            Auckland Youth Employer of the Year
  •          McDonald’s Restaurants Limited                            School Engagement and Work Experience Award
  •          The Warehouse Group                                               Local Youth Employer Award
  •          The Warehouse Group                                               Industry Leadership Award
  •          Fletcher Building                                                        Youth Employment Programme Award
  •          Fletcher Building                                                         Innovative Youth Employer Award
  •          Fletcher Building                                                        JobFest Exhibitor Award
  •          Fletcher Building                                                         Youth Induction and Development Award
  •          Watercare Services                                                    Maori and Pasifika Diversity Award
  •          Xero                                                                                Youth In-Work Mentoring Award
  •          Plumbing World                                                          Judges Leadership Award           

Highly commended business: Sudima Auckland Airport - Auckland Youth Employer of the Year, Rainbow’s End - JobFest Exhibitor Award, Plumbing World - Industry Leadership Award, EY - Maori and Pasifika Diversity Award, Hirepool - Local Youth Employer Award, KPMG - Innovative Youth Employer Award.

The Tindall Foundation announced in July a further three years funding of more than $1 million to Youth Connections, an Auckland Council initiative dedicated to improving youth employment. This brings the Foundation’s contribution to $3,570,000.

Sir Stephen Tindall believes that finding ways to connect employers and young people is crucial to addressing the employment issues Auckland is facing.

Amy Robens
Senior Communications Advisor - Business Innovation and Skills
Contact us